Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Zap of cold plasma reduces harmful bacteria on raw chicken

Date:
February 2, 2012
Source:
Drexel University
Summary:
A new study demonstrates that plasma can be an effective method for killing pathogens on uncooked poultry.

Researchers used a probe to create a dielectric barrier discharge plasma and apply it to raw chicken.
Credit: Dirks et al., Journal of Food Protection

A new study by food safety researchers at Drexel University demonstrates that plasma can be an effective method for killing pathogens on uncooked poultry. The proof-of-concept study was published in the January issue of the Journal of Food Protection.

Although recent high-profile outbreaks of foodborne illness have involved contaminated fresh produce, the most common source of harmful bacteria in food is uncooked poultry and other meat products. The bacteria responsible for most foodborne illnesses, Campylobacter and Salmonella, are found on upwards of 70 percent of chicken meat tested.

Treating raw meat products to remove pathogens before they reach a consumer's home can reduce the risk of cross contamination during food preparation, according to senior author Dr. Jennifer Quinlan, an assistant professor in Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions. "If you could reduce contamination on the raw chicken, then you wouldn't have it in the kitchen," Quinlan said.

Past studies have shown that plasma could successfully reduce pathogens on the surface of fruits and vegetables without cooking them.

The value of using plasma "is that it is non-thermal, so there is no heat to cook or alter the way the food looks," said lead author Brian Dirks, a graduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dirks and Quinlan worked with researchers from the University's Anthony J. Drexel Plasma Institute to test the use of plasma for poultry.

In the Drexel study, raw chicken samples contaminated with Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter jejuni bacteria were treated with plasma for varying periods of time. Plasma treatment eliminated or nearly eliminated bacteria in low levels from skinless chicken breast and chicken skin, and significantly reduced the level of bacteria when contamination levels were high.

The researchers also tested using plasma to treat samples of bacteria grown on agar, and demonstrated that antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria were as susceptible to plasma as the wild-type strains.

Plasma, known as the "fourth state of matter" (after solid, liquid and gas), is a high-energy, charged mixture of gaseous atoms, ions and electrons. Plasma has a wide range of potential applications including energy production and control, biomedical treatments and environmental remediation.

Quinlan described the plasma treatment of poultry in this study as "proof of concept." Current plasma technology is expensive relative to the narrow cost margins involved in food production, and the technology is not currently being developed for processing poultry on a large scale.

If plasma technology becomes cost-effective for use in treating poultry, it may be used in conjunction with existing methods to reduce pathogens, Dirks said, and it may also help prolong the shelf-life of raw chicken if it can be honed to remove more microorganisms responsible for spoilage.

"Until these technologies are more fully developed, consumers should assume that raw poultry has pathogens on it and take care to prevent infection," Quinlan said. "That means cooking thoroughly and making sure not to cross contaminate when handling uncooked meat and poultry."

Quinlan holds a a Ph.D. in food microbiology from North Carolina State University and bachelor's and master's degrees in food science from Rutgers University. Her research focuses on the microbiological quality and safety of food. Her ongoing work focuses on safe consumer handling of food.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Drexel University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brian P. Dirks, Danil Dobrynin, Gregory Fridman, Yuri Mukhin, Alexander Fridman, Jennifer J. Quinlan. Treatment of Raw Poultry with Nonthermal Dielectric Barrier Discharge Plasma To Reduce Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella enterica. Journal of Food Protection, 2012; 75 (1): 22 DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-153

Cite This Page:

Drexel University. "Zap of cold plasma reduces harmful bacteria on raw chicken." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120202150734.htm>.
Drexel University. (2012, February 2). Zap of cold plasma reduces harmful bacteria on raw chicken. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120202150734.htm
Drexel University. "Zap of cold plasma reduces harmful bacteria on raw chicken." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120202150734.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins